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Rand Paul Goes Nuclear on "Spectacle" Hearing on Apple's Taxes

A bipartisan Congressional panel yesterday released its findings regarding Apple's international tax regime and, specifically, how it was able to pay a relatively low tax rate when the U.S. corporate statutory tax rate is 35% (the highest in the developed world). The investigation turned up no wrongdoing, and that Apple follows the letter of the law and pays every dime of its legally-required taxes.

Nonetheless, Congress summoned Apple CEO Tim Cook in front of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to testify on Apple's tax compliance. The Congressional report found that, had Apple not shifted its profits to other subsidiaries around the word,

Over all, Apple’s tax avoidance efforts shifted at least $74 billion from the reach of the Internal Revenue Service between 2009 and 2012, the investigators said. That cash remains offshore, but Apple, which paid more than $6 billion in taxes in the United States last year on its American operations, could still have to pay federal taxes on it if the company were to return the money to its coffers in the United States.

Sen. Rand Paul, who is not the chair or ranking member of this morning's committee, offered an unconventional opening statement for the record. "Frankly, I'm offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing," Sen. Paul Said. "Tell me a politician up here that doesn't try to minimize their taxes... Instead of Apple executives, we should have brought in here a giant mirror."

"I frankly think that the committee should apologize to Apple," Paul said.

Sen. Paul said that he was also "offended by the spectacle of dragging in executives that aren't doing anything illegal," a framing that subcommittee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) took issue with.

"We did not drag them in front of this subcommitee," Levin said. "This subcommittee is not going to apologize to Apple."

Sen. Paul also took to Twitter to express his outrage.

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